Fort Collins Men Indicted in Alleged $1.15 Million Fraud Case
The grand jury indicted Benjamin Davenport, Kirk Smith, and Gabriel Halsmer on August 9th on charges including theft, conspiracy to commit theft, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
The charges relate back to a September 2017 case, in which Florida businessman Juan Jose Renson told law enforcement he reached out to the three men, as he was interested in working with their Fort Collins-based virtual reality company, VRsenal Inc.
Renson invested in the company, and ended up paying more than $1.15 million to the VRsenal co-founders between November 2017 and September 2018.
However, Davenport, Smith, and Halsmer allegedly used most of the money to pay of previous loans, investors, and themselves. The former two are also alleged to have used a large amount of the money to pay off attorney feeds for another ongoing fraud case.
This other fraud case dates to November 2017, when investigators alleged that Davenport and Smith were leaders of a money laundering scheme that cost Blue Ocean Enterprise, a Fort Collins business, $2.9 million over the course of four years.
A grand jury indicted the two men for this case in July 2018, with Davenport facing 31 felony charges, and Smith facing 33 charges, including theft, money laundering, and tax evasion.
According to court documents, Renson asked the three men whether they had been involved in any criminal activity when he was considering investing in VRsenal Inc. They reportedly all denied it. Renson did not learn of the previous fraud case until he filed a lawsuit in March of 2019.
According to Renson, he frequently asked what the men planned to use the money for and attempted to put the plan in investment contracts. He claims Davenport, Smith, and Halsmer would delete the contracts.
The men are scheduled to appear in court on August 21.